Poldark series 3 episode 8 review: Ross and Demelza grow apart but will Drake get Morwenna back?
The love lives of many of the show's leading lights hang in the balance ahead of next week's finale
Judas, as they say in these parts, that was an interesting episode of Poldark.
It may have been bereft of major incident or death but it was still action-packed. And most importantly it shone an intriguing light into many of the characters’ hearts.
- Is it sexist to lust after Aidan Turner in Poldark?
Where is BBC drama Poldark filmed?
Poldark commissioned for a fifth – and probably final – series
Or in the case of Aidan Turner’s Ross, it sort of did. Our hero appeared to have what would in modern terms be called a mature and honest conversation with his neglected wife Demelza. He had just seen Elizabeth in the church where they had been visiting Agatha’s grave and the two of them had had a heart-to-heart followed by a chaste(-ish) kiss.
But did he confess? Did he heck. Ross appeared to tell Demelza what he was feeling – that he had the ghost of a love for Elizabeth but that he was happy and content in his new marriage and was a new man.
But he said nothing of the sort.
The confession we saw was a fantasy with writer Debbie Horsfield pulling the rug from under us viewers, just as she did with the death of Francis (when he appeared to be saved from drowning only for us to realise that it was some sort of dream before he carked it).
So Ross essentially lied to Demelza, said he was sorting granite for Agatha’s grave and reported nothing of the kiss. He's a complicated hero, our Mr P.
And in Poldark these things have a habit of coming back to bite characters on the bottom. Because lurking near the church gate was the unmistakeable figure of Beatie Edney’s Prudie who witnessed the intimate exchange between Ross and his erstwhile lover.
Ghastly George Warleggan also found out a few things about his wife. He consulted Dr Enys about the details of Valentine’s birth – wracked as he is with doubt over Agatha’s last words suggesting that the child is not his and someone else “got there first”.
“Damn you Ross, damn your blood,” George spat at his arch enemy in one of their many bar room tiffs (they like squaring off in pubs, those two). And it was a remark which was clearly double-edged: by his blood he clearly means young Valentine.
But being George he didn’t talk to his wife – merely cold-shouldered her and the wee whelp.
Although of course he had other things on his mind, namely what Brenda from Bristol (in more recent times) would have called “another” blimming election. But this one offered up some tasty plot developments.
George had been elected as the Burgess' radical candidate of change in Cornwall and – to add to the irony – old right winger Lord Falmouth approached Ross to be his man.
Of course stubborn Ross would have been far better as the Burgess’ choice and it is hard to see him acquiescing with a toff who feels the “menials" have their place (by which he means on the ground, scrabbling in the dirt for a crust).
The terrible Osborne/Morwenna marriage is also going in a dangerous direction. Osborne keeps forcing himself on his poor wife and was actually caught praying for "a suitable replacement" while she suffering the agonies of labour. I may be wrong but this is not conduct straight out of the new man’s guide to being a good husband.
Quite what Morwenna’s sister Rowella is up to, though, is another question, with her constant flirtation with her toe-sucking toe-rag brother-in-law. Is she trying to keep him away from her sister by satisfying Ossie's (as he seems to be called these days) lust?
Still, Ossie definitely has a rival. Drake’s fires of passion have been rekindled – and we saw him mooning outside Ossie Towers. Will he have the courage to make a swoop? And how can he get Ossie out of the way? Perhaps Rowella will get him into such a state he expires. One can only hope.
Probably least interesting are the flickerings of Hugh Armitage’s desire for Demelza. It’s not a story that has massively gripped me to be honest – his swooning, poems and sketches seem a little hackneyed. And it is a story we seemed to have seen already in the last series when Demelza was getting all that attention from Captain McNeil.
Although the tension Hugh’s ardour seems to have exposed in Ross and Demelza's marriage is interesting.
The fireside scene where she confided to her husband that she would be up for a fling was bold, daring and rather modern. Question is: has she got the chops for it? And will Ross stand up for his marriage? It's about time he did...
Poldark season three airs on Sundays from 8/7c, PBS Masterpiece